I love sex and being intimate with a long-term partner, but I’m ready to take a break from jumping into bed with men for what I’ve started to figure out were all the wrong reasons. I don’t have to be in a relationship to have sex, but I’ve discovered that I’m quite happy with some prolonged cuddling without it leading to anything sexual.
- I’m tired of bad sex. I haven’t given up on sex completely, but I am tired of bad sex and I refuse to have any more of it. I don’t necessarily want to get involved with anyone, but one-night stands aren’t necessarily known for the most thrilling encounters except under the rarest of circumstances. There are plenty of ways I can please myself for the time being until I’m ready to wade into that pond again, and for now, I’m happy with someone just to hold for a few hours at a time.
- Not having to worry about STDs is kind of a relief. It’s getting scary out there. The number of cases of gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia cases is on the rise and was the highest ever recorded in 2016. Sure, they’re preventable and many of them are treatable, but it’s one less thing to worry about on top of everything else, especially when I’m not that tempted.
- Cuddling is sensual. So rarely do we just get to touch one another and focus on the physical sensations of each another’s skin and body heat. Cuddling really allows me to get in touch with my own body and what I’m feeling physically. It helps me to slow down, get more into the present moment, and be more aware of my surroundings.
- Cuddling releases neurochemicals in the brain that make you happy. Cuddling is known for releasing dopamine and oxytocin, the feel-good chemicals that increase happiness and a sense of well-being. It’s the same thing that’s in chocolate but without the added calories. This is one of the benefits I know I get out of it that was missing in my life in large doses before I started doing this.
- We can skip over all the awkwardness. For the guys I date that are into it, we can just relax without having to worry about whether sex is going to happen or not and when. Cuddling is fun for everyone and no one has to worry about performing or looking good while doing it. It’s also a good ice-breaker for new dates when I tell them I’m into this cuddling thing at the moment to see how they react. It’s generally gone over a lot better than I expected.
- A lot of intimate conversation takes place while cuddling. You can get to know someone pretty well while you’re cuddling with them and not trying to go straight for the sexual goal posts. I’ve had some pretty deep conversations with men about everything under the sun, from their childhoods to why they moved to the city to their thoughts on the origins of the universe. Getting this deep is not something that I’d do again with everyone, but at least I got to find out who I’d want to get to know further.
- It’s an instant stress-reliever. Hugging and having physical contact with others lowers blood pressure. We’re social creatures, wired to bond with other people. While I’m not trying to necessarily bond with any of these guys in a permanent way, it definitely feels great to have a little physical touch in my life. Even cuddling while just watching a movie is a great way to end a stressful day. I think I can say that I’m a lot calmer these days than I used to be.
- It takes the pressure off of me to have sex. If I’m being truthful, I can’t say that I’ve been totally sex-free. Due to all of this cuddling, there has been once or twice when it’s led to sex. Still, with all the touching and sensuality and bonding, it was actually some of the best sex I’ve had in a while, and the dearth of that that was one of the reasons I’d wanted to take a break from it in the first place so I’m OK with it.
- I can cuddle with friends, which is pretty great. I always like to be clear with my dates up front these days that I’m into cuddling these days without the sex. Some of them are into it, and some of them don’t seem all that gung-ho about it, which is fine. I have a lot of male friends, and we’ve definitely had plenty of platonic cuddle sessions together. Believe it or not, my guy friends are totally into this cuddling thing as well. I think people just don’t get enough touching in general, so this has gone over pretty well. Next up, cuddle parties!